Becoming a Horticulturist

What does Horticulture involve? It takes in areas such as fruit growing, vegetables, everyday plants in the garden, turf, both seeded and roll-on, and of course, flowers. The garden can be anywhere, such as a yard in a house or a larger, production garden. People sometimes learn horticulture to create their own beautiful garden or do it as a hobby. They may just want to make their home have a lot more street side appeal.

How to Become a Horticulturist?

You can study for a certificate in horticulture at most universities, colleges or technical institutions. If you’re looking at starting a business in horticulture, then you will have a lot more credibility with a formal qualification. Learning to be a horticulturist means picking up knowledge in:

  • Chemistry
  • Botany
  • Soils
  • Communications – written and oral
  • Pests and diseases of plants
  • Business Management

A course in horticulture will give you lots of information about food safety, gardening techniques, and the installation of ecologically sound lawns.

Career Opportunities

As a professional horticulturist, you can work in a few different areas such as:

Production – landscape services management, set up a green house, oversee a vegetable farm, operate a flower shop or a plant distribution centre, run a garden centre or a nursery.

Landscapinggarden design, installations and maintenance, planting shrubs, trees, ground cover, turf grass, topiary.

Marketing – the wholesale or retail selling of gardening supplies, organically processed or fresh vegetables, indoor house plants, arrangements of flowers. You can provide marketing services for government departments, private companies, gardening and hardware type stores or for wholesale distributors.

Research – helping to improve growing conditions and quality of vegetables, fruit, flowers and specific plants. Develop ways in which to store and handle and market horticultural products. Work on plant nutrition, cross pollination and breeding, the use of chemicals in plant growth.

Pesticides and Pest Management – jobs are available with state authorities, large farming organisations, agricultural and farm agents and the suppliers of agricultural products.

Industries and Horticultural Crops –  Seed firms employ horticulturists, also manufacturers of pesticides, fertiliser manufacturers, snap freeze canning companies and farming equipment manufacturers.

Inspection Services – a trained horticulturist can be employed in government or private agencies as production quality control inspectors.

The Duties of a Horticulturist

  • Prepare plants for sale in nurseries
  • Look after plant production
  • Assist in managing resorts, hotels and sporting complexes
  • Employed in the council’s parks and gardens department
  • Administration within agricultural industries

A horticulturist will often work with town planners, landscape architects, engineers and environmental conservationists. The aim of the horticulturist is to educate customers as well as the public in working towards a better environment and improved quality of life through conservation.

By gaining a scientific degree in horticulture, you will be working with agricultural institutes where research is always taking place on vegetables, fruits and flowers. Viticulture concentrates on the wine and grape growing industry.


The Ever-Growing Market for Horticulturists

More awareness of the environmental issues involved with genetic research and organically grown products has seen an expanded job market for horticulturists. They can get jobs as research workers, teachers, scientists and even lecturers in their fields of specialty. Horticulturists are working as production superintendents, landscape specialists, buyers, gardening maintenance advisors, education coordinators and research assistants.

As a career move, working in the horticultural business is full of diversification.